(K. Brent Tomer),
HE DEFLECTS bullets off his palm, catches grenades blindfolded, whips up a dust-storm with a whirl of his leg and hurls a bottle to kill the villain from a mile away. Meet Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, better known as Rajinikanth, or simply Rajini, a bigger-than-life Indian film star, revered by legions of fans across the country.
On July 22nd just before dawn, his well-wishers flocked to a temple in Mumbai to pray for the success of his new film, “Kabali”, a Tamil-language thriller set in Malaysia. In Chennai, Rajinikanth’s hometown, shows ran almost round-the-clock from 4.00am. In some cinemas, the audience performed a ritual by burning camphor inside a sliced pumpkin before smashing it near the screen when the words “Superstar Rajini” appeared.
His devotees fling garlands, coins and even banknotes when he makes an entrance on-screen, back or boot first. They dance in the aisles and bathe his posters with milk and honey. “It is our way to show respect,” says Sumukh SP, a diehard fan at Urvashi, a single-screen theatre in Bangalore which erupts every time Rajini delivers a line or when thugs dare insult him. The…Continue reading